Texas Community

Texas Insurance Brokers Play Bigger Obamacare Role

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
02/17/15  7:57 PM PST
Texas Health Plans

Originally published by Kaiser Health News. Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a nonprofit national health policy news service.

By Carrie Feibel, Houston Public Media

As the health law’s second open enrollment season barrels to a close on Sunday, nearly a million Texans have purchased or applied for health insurance. This time around, insurance brokers are aggressively marketing themselves to shoppers – it’s a big change for the brokers who have had an uneasy relationship with the health law for years.

Bart Franco is one customer who sought help from a broker this time. He is the pastor of a tiny community church that he founded in a garage behind his house near downtown Houston where he spends hours every day in prayer.

Franco, 65, is retired and covered by Medicare, so he needed to buy insurance for his wife and son. When he tried to enroll them in an Affordable Care Act plan last year, he got nowhere.

“First, I called the 1-800 number and I was on hold for 40 minutes and just hung up, gave up. I’m not going to put up with that,” he recalled.

Franco missed the 2014 deadline to get a plan on the federal marketplace exchange. He later called Blue Cross Blue Shield directly and succeeded in purchasing a short-term catastrophic plan for his family. But he felt the process was rushed, and he was uncomfortable with the plan’s high deductible.

“They just give you insurance and [say that] it costs this much, and you only pay $146 (a month) that sounds good, doesn’t it? OK, fine. You’re hooked, and you don’t even know what you have.”

Read the Full Article at Kaiser Health News.